US appoints first federal CISO

The Obama administration has appointed the USA’s first federal chief information security officer (CISO) as part of its Cybersecurity National Action Plan.

Gregory Touhill, a retired brigadier general in the US Air Force, has been selected for the position. In his new role, Touhill will drive cybersecurity policy, planning and implementation across the government.

Touhill is currently deputy assistant secretary for cybersecurity and communications at the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Cybersecurity and Communications.

In a blog post, US CIO Tony Scott said the US CISO will lead the team that has been at the forefront of driving cyber policy and practices across federal agencies.

“Strong cybersecurity depends on robust policies, secure networks and systems and, importantly, a cadre of highly skilled cybersecurity talent,” he said.

“The CISO will play a central role in helping to ensure the right set of policies, strategies and practices are adopted across agencies and keeping the federal government at the leading edge of 21st century cybersecurity.”

Touhill will be assisted by the newly appointed acting deputy CISO, Grant Schneider. Schneider is currently director for cybersecurity policy for the White House’s National Security Council staff.

Scott said the deputy CISO role was created after studies of successful organisational models across government determined that partnering a career role with an appointed senior official is both the norm and beneficial.


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